It wasn’t too long ago that, personally, I would have laughed at the idea social media could become a major force in news and information. I’m old enough that I grew up watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news and knowing him as “The Most Trusted Man in America.”
The idea that Facebook and Twitter and countless other mediums could somehow become as influential as Walter Cronkite was preposterous in my mind.
Well, I have to confess that I was wrong. During my Christmas vacation, I spent a lot of time on social media, Facebook being the primary communications tool (among several) of choice. What became abundantly clear to me was; in addition to finding out about goings on with my friends and family, I was getting a significant portion of my news from social media. Upon reflection, I realized that in 2010 (and now into 2011) some of the important and not so important news that affected me, or that I was simply interested to know, came by way of social media.
Quick example: I love baseball and am a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals … it was a tweet that popped in one evening informing me that the Cardinals had signed Lance Berkman from the free-agent market. Naturally, with great excitement, I went to the web pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to get the full story, however, without Twitter, it might have been the next day before I heard the news.
That’s hardly critical news, but while in Memphis for the Liberty Bowl (don’t ask) it was a posting on Facebook that tipped me off to a tornado watch and the heavy thunderstorms that were rolling our way. Fortunately for Memphis the worst of that awful storm turned north, but tragically spawned deadly tornados in Arkansas. Thanks to a posting on facebook, our New Year’s Eve reveling in Memphis was done with an awareness that we might need to take action.
Then today comes a snow day in Georgia. I knew about it from the “old fashioned” media because they’ve been predicting this event for a week, but I found out by email that Cookerly Public Relations would be having an agency-wide telework day today. The photo is looking out the front door of the “Cookerly Snellville Office.”
Most importantly, I found out that my bowling league would advise if there would be competition tonight via facebook and my sons sent me video of a big snowball fight at the University of Georgia that broke out last night http://tinyurl.com/2blsghw … now THAT is fast-breaking, critical news!
When I reflected on it, I thought about many of other recent instances where my first alert of news (some important only to me, some more broad in scope) came by way of social media.
Hmmm. I guess the idea that social media could become, or perhaps HAS become as influential as Walter Cronkite – at least in my world – is hardly a preposterous notion.